In that time, Altemio Sánchez, a native from Puerto Rico, got married and had three children. As a professional, he worked as a machine operator and created interpersonal relationships with his neighbors and coworkers, who never suspected that they were before one of the most feared criminals in the US.
Altemio Sánchez: Early years
Altemio Sánchez was born on January 19, 1958, in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico, but he moved with his family to the United States when he was just 2 years old. During his childhood, he lost his father and after his mother’s second marriage, he moved to Florida for a few years.
Altemio Sánchez’s personal life was calm in Buffalo, New York, where he lived for several years with his wife, Kathleen Sánchez and his two children. According to the testimony of relatives, friends and neighbors, he looked like a man who was focused on his family and his work, and he also possessed a great ability to create connections with his neighbors and colleagues.
Altemio Sánchez’s murders
Behind that image of a loving father and husband, Altemio Sánchez hid one of the bloodiest secrets in US crime history: Little by little, he became a serial killer who confessed having killed, at least, three women: Linda Yalem, Majane Mazur and Joan Diver.
Altemio Sánchez’s modus operandi, according to what was later known, consisted in strangling, beating and sexually abusing his victims. Among his tools for torture, there were bludgeons he used to asphyxiate his victims. Although not all his crimes occurred in the same place, at least two of the bodies of his victims were found in concealed sections of bike trails in New York. Ever since, he began to be known as the Bike Path Rapist.
Altemio Sánchez’s miscalculations started in the 1990s, a few years after having committed his first murder. Sánchez was a regular client of sex workers and got arrested on numerous occasions for asking for the services of prostitutes that were actually undercover agents. Thanks to that, authorities were able to get DNA samples which later confirmed him as the Bike Path Killer.
With the DNA samples, it was possible to identify a pattern related to several sexual assault complaints, but it was on January 15, 2007, when the police was finally able to arrest him for the murder of Linda Yalem, Majane Mazur and Joan Diver. On May 16 of the same year, Sánchez pleaded guilty to the three murders.
On May 17, 2007, Altemio Sánchez confessed having killed the three women, claiming he regretted it, but the statement was quickly denied by his lawyer, Andrew C. LoTempio, who explained that his client had had an abusive childhood, but this didn’t justify his actions.
Even though the state of New York had enough evidence to sentence him for dozens of sexual attacks, it wasn’t possible due to New York’s statute of limitations. However, it was possible to sentence him to 75 years in prison.
The investigators assigned to the case believe that the number of Altemio Sánchez’s victims is higher than three, the official number for which he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in the Clinton penitentiary center, in the state of New York.
Authorities have told him that, if he were to confess more murders, as well as the location of the bodies or details about his modus operandi, he could be transferred to another penitentiary center to be closer to his family.
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